Dental hygienist is ranked #32 in the Top 100 U.S. jobs today. In fact, there is an expected 6% growth rate in jobs available between 2019 and 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The industry is quickly growing due to the patient demand for oral healthcare and the need for more dentistry specialists. So, what is a dental hygienist and what makes it a desirable job today? Here, we will look a little more into this coveted career in dentistry and how to make it possible for you.
What is a Dental Hygienist?
Dental hygienists work with dentists to ensure the oral health of the community. While responsibilities vary state to state, some examples of a dental hygienist’s responsibilities are health screenings, taking radiographs or X-rays, removing plaque from the teeth, adding preventive solutions to teeth and counseling patients about the importance of oral hygiene.
The majority of dental hygienists work in dentist offices; however, other job opportunities may lie in hospitals, public school systems or community dental educational programs. Training to be a dental hygienist requires a 2-year program to obtain an associate degree in a community college or technical school. The average salary for a dental hygienist is about $77,000 annually.
Why Become a Dental Hygienist?
If the competitive salary was not enough for you, there are more perks to being dental hygienist. Working as a dental hygienist allows you to have direct contact and care of people to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle. Dental hygienists educate patients on the importance of oral health and provide preventive treatments to help them maintain good oral health.
You may have experienced a job in the past that left you feeling unfulfilled. Dental hygienists make a difference by helping others pursue better health and life, all while bringing a smile to the faces of patients. If working directly with people is something you enjoy, a dental hygienist may be good career choice for you.
Another reason to pursue a career as a dental hygienist is that it never gets boring! If you enjoy sitting behind a desk all the workday, you may not enjoy being a dental hygienist. They are frequently on their feet, assisting dentists in patient care. No two days are the same, as you see different patients with different needs every day. If you grow tired of office work, there are always other work environments to explore.
Another big reason that this career is so popular is that dental hygienists have the opportunity for advancement within their career. Typically, one will start out with an associate degree and can start getting experience in the field of dentistry. Some hygienists wish to continue to pursue a bachelor or master’s degree in dentistry. There are a few paths that a dental hygienist may seek to advance their skills. These include a work corporate position that involves sales, public health careers, educators of dentistry or an administrative position. Often, these positions require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in the field.
Job flexibility is another perk of being a dental hygienist. They have an option to work full-time or part time, but there are also temporary agencies that hire dental hygienists. As a temporary hire, dental hygienists have the freedom to travel and spend more time with family and friends. They also have more control over their salaries and benefits, as an agent will assist you in finding the right job position that fits your demands.
How to Become a Dental Hygienist
There are over 100 schools in the United States that offer training as a dental hygienist. The important thing is to ensure that the school is accredited. The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) is the only accrediting agency for dentistry-related careers. Once you have chosen an accredited program, expect to dedicate at least 2 full years toward your training. Once your degree has been awarded, you will be required to pass the National Board Dental Hygiene examination, in addition to passing your state examination.
How to Start a Career as a Dental Hygienist
Once you have obtained your associate degree as a dental hygienist, it is time to start career searching. As we mentioned before, most dental hygienists are employed in dental offices. However, the other options are worth exploring. Are you unsure of where to start? Agencies like Strategic Dental Staffing Solutions can help you find the career you want.
Strategic Dental Staffing Solutions looks for employees that will be a perfect fit for a client. There is also more flexibility; just tell your agent what you are looking for and they will find a match in your area. Whether you are looking to get your feet wet in the career of dentistry, or you are looking for your dream career, let Strategic Dental Staffing Solutions help you find your way!